Remembering Woodrow Wilson

AND when he died the flesh that was young in us died too.
Not our own young flesh alone that died but flesh of the nation
Beginning to harden and smooth in the folds of the middle years.
Wise American, ignorant European,
Loosed to the cockpit bare of his raking spurs,
Where the centuries’ blood had made slow warts in the dust,
And Varus and Louis and Frederick
And Marlborough, Foch, and Petain,
And Hindenburg, Cæsar, Napoleon,
Mackensen, Kitchener, and Haig
Never gave back their legions.
For blood is not blood, it is wine
That empire drinks at the noon of its casual chores.
He thought that the blood of eight million men
Had wiped out the blood of the millions before,
He dreamed the final binding of wounds.
He forgot the habit and hunger of power.
He forgot that blood does not matter, — nor ruin,
Nor disease, nor starvation, nor wreck, nor despair.
For these are what power expects and provides for
Under the silken decay of its phrases.
Now that injury, vengeance, and fear are written as news,
We should remember him, beaten and jeered in his dream.
And remembering know we are different, but free to admire
The wisdom and foresight and vision of all the great statesmen
Who have wiped our minds clean of all but affection for power.
We dance and we sing on these American shores
Not as a light to the nations. (How pale the light was!)
The question is what to do with us. And how without?